OBETZ, Ohio – Dominic Oduro has teamed with some talented scorers in eight MLS seasons across five teams.
That's why the Columbus Crew attacker is happy to have Costa Rican forward Jairo Arrieta on his side, a player whose work rate and physical play reminds him of a former FC Dallas teammate.
"If anyone, I'd have to say he's a little bit like Kenny Cooper," Oduro told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. "Kenny wasn't as fast as Jairo but both are able to hold the ball to make that perfect run off them."
It's high praise from Oduro. Cooper, now back with Dallas for a second stint, has 67 goals in 166 career MLS matches, reaching 18 goals in a season with New York in 2012 and Dallas in 2008.
Arrieta, meanwhile, has 10 goals in 25 matches since joining the Crew in July 2012.
Even though Arrieta (5-foot-9, 150 pounds) is considerably smaller than Cooper (6-foot-3, 210), he doesn't mind mixing it up.
"He's mobile but he's strong," Crew defender Gláuber said of the Costa Rica international.
Oduro and Arrieta were reunited in the starting lineup for the first time in five matches last Saturday vs. D.C. United and, along with fellow attacker Federico Higuaín, were lethal in the 3-0 win.
GOAL: Arrieta sets up Oduro for opener
Arrieta set up Oduro for the first goal (right) with a crisp pass from the end line to the center of the box.
It was the type of play coach Robert Warzycha hoped to see from Arrieta after benching him for three matches following his return from national team duty.
"He was making the wrong choices before," Warzycha said. "This game he was very sharp. On that cross, maybe in previous situations he'd dribble it in and then cross it too late. But he didn't this time. He was sharp and made the right choices."
Arrieta also drew a corner kick that led to the second goal by Josh Williams from an Higuain service. Arrieta was on the right flank when he spotted Oduro streaking through the middle. His leading cross was cleared out of bounds by a defender, but was an example of how he and Oduro are starting to read each other's moves.
"We pressured high. We were really connected, close to each other," Arrieta said through a translator. "Hopefully, with more games with the same intensity and same mentality we're going to get better and better. We know each better."
Arrieta also had a part in the final goal when he was tackled in the box and Higuaín converted the penalty kick.
"I tried to help the team anyway I can," Arrieta said. "Obviously I like to score. That's my job. I tried to do it last game. I couldn't but I'm really happy because the performance I had was really good. It was something I was looking for and also it helped the team win."